Title: Firm-level entrepreneurship and performance for German Gazelles

Authors: Rainer Harms, Thomas Ehrmann

Addresses: University of Twente, NIKOS – Dutch Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship, Postbus 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. ' Westfalische Wilhelms-Universitat Munster, Institute for Strategic Management, Leonardo-Campus 18, D-48149 Münster, Germany

Abstract: The selection of an effective approach to strategy impacts significantly on firm performance. Firm-level entrepreneurship is such an approach, that is either characterised as a tendency for proactive, innovative and risk-taking behaviour (entrepreneurial orientation; EO) or as an approach that focuses on opportunities rather than on existing resources (entrepreneurial management; EM). In this paper, we discuss how these two types of firm-level entrepreneurship differentially affect organisational performance (growth) and operational performance, more specifically innovativeness. Results of a quantitative study based on 65 German Gazelles indicate that both EO and EM impact more strongly on growth than on innovativeness. These findings underscore the importance of matching strategy to intended goals and question some of the taken-for-granted assumptions concerning the beneficial effects of firm-level entrepreneurship.

Keywords: entrepreneurial management; entrepreneurial orientation; firm performance; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; strategy; innovativeness; entrepreneurship; innovation; risk taking; Germany; organisational performance; operational performance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEV.2009.029103

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2009 Vol.1 No.2, pp.185 - 204

Published online: 04 Nov 2009 *

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